Carolina: Cruising Past 70

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Innsbruck, the Tyrolean Capital of the Austrian Alps: Lovely Down to Every Small Detail

That is a pretty huge claim to make but let me tell you why.

The Loveliness of Nature

As soon as our bus approached a valley sandwiched between the Karwendel Alps to the north and the Patscherkofel Series to the south, I couldn’t stop clicking my camera. The Tyrolean region from the Austrian side (probably also from the Italian), is a picture-perfect area. Purplish mountains, greenish meadows, colorful villages, feeding animals, and bright blue skies make for idyllic scenery, especially in fall.

view from our hotel

windows and treatments, five in Old Town and one in Axams
Right at the foothills in Axams, a suburb of Innsbruck, the Austrian capital of the region, is the Alpine Hotel Schlosselhoff, one of the resorts affiliated with one of our timeshares, Diamond Resorts International. It was our home in Austria for seven days. From our deck, we viewed cattle, sheep, and horses grazing on bright green grass. There were rustic cabins and blazing autumnal trees. This October was blessed with unusually gorgeous weather, the high 60s to low 70s, sunny and with no winds.

The Loveliness of the Architecture and History

We were given free passes to buses that run every fifteen minutes and take about thirty minutes to and from the Hauptbahnhof (Main Rail station). Another fifteen minutes of walking took us to Old Town Innsbruck. Yes, here in Europe I didn’t mind walking. I loved the architecture of the buildings so much I couldn’t stop taking photos of the windows and treatments that are so beautiful, lovely down to every small detail. The colors seemed to be coordinated, too. Even in the suburb Axams, they were the same, only they were painted and not sculpted.

Triumphal Arch, left, and Maria Teresa Square, right

And the loveliness went up even to a higher level at Old Town Innsbruck. First to appear during our walk from the Main Rail Station is the Triumphal Arch, reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Then the Old Town Square with the statue of Maria Teresa spreads out with colorful buildings on both sides. If you walk towards the Inn River, you will get the spectacular sight of colorful buildings reflected on the water and with the mountains as a backdrop (see headline photo).

Goldenes Dachl, left, and Maximillian's Cenotaph, right

Towards the other side is the iconic Goldenes Dachl, built in 1500 for the wedding of 
Emperor Maximilian I. It glitters with 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles.  It is over this balcony where the couple stood in front of adoring crowds to observe many events. Just around the corner is the heart of the Imperial Palace now an astonishing museum. Beside it is the St. James Cathedral which was under renovation. The Court Church was most interesting, containing Maximillian’s Cenotaph surrounded by his Black Men. He designed and commissioned this tomb even before his death.

The Loveliness of Modern Day Innsbruck

the Hungerburgbahn Terminal at Hungerburg

Just beyond all this history stands the LandesTheater, the Tyrolean State Theater, in bright yellow and the present-day Congress, a very modern red building, practically across each other. Across the Congress and beside the Theater is the Hofgarten, ten hectares of a green oasis. About a five-minute walk after these sites is the Hungerburgbahn hybrid funicular railway ride which takes you up to the midpoint village up the mountains of Hungerburg. There you have a lovely aerial view of Innsbruck. Gondolas for eight can take you to the top.

aerial view from Hungerburg

crystal stairs at the downtown Swarowski store
Nature has also so endowed Innsbruck that the city had been chosen to host many international competitions for winter sports like the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics, the 1984 and 1988 Winter Paralympics, and the first Winter Youth Olympics in 2012. It was just too bad we didn’t have enough time to visit the Olympic facilities, especially the towering Bergisel Ski Jump.

The Loveliness of the Crystals

At Old Town Innsbruck, we were fascinated by a Swarowski store replete with exhibits of crystalline ladies’ dresses, bejeweled everyday things like cereals and soda cans, stairs in shimmering silver, and pieces of jewelry and souvenirs on sale! We hungered for more and so we took a trip to the Swarowski KystalWellten or Crystal World where millions of crystals are used to create monumental exhibits, both indoors and outdoors.

entrance to the Gift Shop

Indoors you go through room after room, each with different themes. We were fascinated by the Dome, the Holograms of Peace, Ready to Love, Icons of the World, Emotional Transformations, and many, many more. It is good that photography without flash is allowed. At the end of all the rooms is the gift shop which had more displays of bejeweled ladies’ gowns and other crystalline home d├ęcor carrying the brand name. The entrance to the shop is a tunnel of mesmerizing lights. And outdoors, you will find the amazing Jewel Monster and the glittering Cloud Forest.   

Cloud Forest

As you can see, it is easy to see why I fell in love with Innsbruck!

pinnable image
pinnable image